parent opinion

"Please, stop asking the mothers."

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In 2020 we were charged with sourcing toilet paper. And teaching. And we became sanitising experts. 

We watched all the news. The numbers. We soothed away all the anxiety. We got stuck at home.  

On top of all that we had to try and hold on to the jobs that we had before the country sent us to our collective rooms. It was for our our own good and benefit. We did it. But, it was heavy. 

Maintaining a sense of normal, or as we say now, "COVID-normal."

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This planning and logistics juggle is nothing new to mothers. Or for that matter, primary care givers. It’s what is commonly referred to as the mental load.

It’s knowing what time to wake up, who likes the blue sippy cup, who hates the blue sippy cup. Where the missing socks are, who has a sandwich in their lunchbox and which child needs to be at what sporting venue by what time with what equipment. When the school term starts. When it ends. When all the assemblies are. What sport is on this season. 

RELATED: 'I don't think he's done a single load of washing.' How women's mental load changed in 2020.

It’s being aware of milestones being met. Of moods. Of dates. Of actually knowing what day of the week it is. Of how to avoid tantrums. How to navigate that moment when the teenager is trying to tell you about the oppressive oppression of the patriarchy and the warning sign that the toilet training toddler needs to toilet.

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It’s the knowledge that means the difference between a hurricane style almost-adult tantrum and having to wipe s**t up off the floor. All these fluorescent, hard to focus on, circus clubs of varying sizes, flying in the air, with only one set of eyes, two hands and a questionable sense of coordination to manage all of them.

It's now February 2021. 

We’ve managed to survive Christmas and the summer holidays, buy the school uniforms, the new shoes, the socks, the hats, the stationary, the lunch boxes, the drink bottles, the school bags and finally, finally we got the kids to school. Or have we?

Snap lockdowns. Bushfires. Floods. More clubs in the air. More mad handling. But we are doing it. Skillfully, and with smiles on our faces, and the gratitude in our souls that society demands from mothers.

It’s a circus, and we are centre stage. Performing all the things with all the clubs.

Tarrin and her family. Image: Supplied. Every time we are asked for information it’s like being hit with a rotten tomato. There is a bit of flinching. A widening of the smile. A tilt of the head to keep the glittering cap from falling to the floor. All the while pretending that everything is still fine and fun.

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The show goes on. But the tomatoes keep coming and they are big, and rotten, and annoying.

No one ever means to throw a tomato. Sometimes they are tossed by accident. Especially ones that are big, and rotten and annoying.

And no one ever wants to hear mention of how exacerbating the tomatoes are. They all just want us to get on with the show. And they want us to be grateful for even being part of the circus. They want us to know how lucky we are and most importantly how grateful for the chance to perform.

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And then there are the questions. Oh questions, all the questions. Questions that are big, and rotten, and when added to our enormous mental load, annoying.

Questions that we need you to very much, pretty please, humbly, gratefully, down on bended knees, stop asking - like:

- What can I get little Johnny for his birthday?

- What can I get him for Christmas?

- What if I put some money in your bank account and you get little Johnny whatever he likes for his birthday?

- What is little Johnny into these days? I hate giving money. I want to get him a gift.

We're tapping out. 

We love that you love our kids. We are so grateful that you want to get them a gift. We are aware that we should just shut up and be happy that you even care, that you could spend your money and time elsewhere. 

But still, we just need you to use Google. Or, ask the kids themselves. Or, set up a bank account and put money in there until they turn 18.

Do anything at all but for god’s sake, STOP ASKING THE MOTHERS.

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Feature Image: Supplied.